Steven Hutchings, client partner at Coutts in Milton Keynes tells us what makes him tick in business.
Date of birth:
June 1, 1959
Town where you live:
What are your business qualifications?
PCIAM (diploma in Private Client Investment Advice & Management) ACIB (Associate of the Chartered Institute of Bankers) FPC (Financial Planning Certificate)
Do you think business leadership can be taught or is it something that comes from a natural instinct?
The $1m question! A bit of both really – there are some ‘naturals’ like Richard Branson but I guess even he will have learned from others as well as his own experiences. Leadership has so many different definitions, and all leaders are different – leaders have to be able to adapt their style to both the business and the people within.
What is the name of your main business and what does it do?
Coutts. Wealth Management, in Silbury Boulevard, Grafton Gate East, Milton Keynes. We look after the financial affairs of high net worth individuals.
What was the turnover of your main business in the last reporting period?
Not disclosed/Not relevant?
Where would you like the business to be in 10 years time?
We have grown the team by double in the last five years in what most would consider difficult times – if we could double that again in 10 years I would call that a success.
What positives can you extract from current economic conditions?
The volatility in investment markets has created some opportunities for effective medium and long term investing. The short term low interest rate environment is great for borrowers and looks set to continue for some time.
What motivates you to get up in the morning and go to work?
My clients. I really enjoy interacting with people and I regard my clients as an extension of my circle of friends. I think it is important to have that good relationship and for people to know that you will genuinely try to do the best for them, like you would for friends and family.
What is the most important thing in life and why?
Easy one – my two gorgeous daughters, Amelia, eight, and Olivia, three.
At what age do you aim to retire and what will you do after that point?
I really can’t imagine being retired though I guess I’m going to come to that point. I’d always like to be involved in business in some capacity, or at least supporting my girls with their chosen careers as they grow up.
If you have a partner, what do they do?
My partner Angela has the busiest and toughest job I can imagine – looking after me, our two girls, and the house. I couldn’t do it!
What is the most important thing you learned at school?
That you need lots of encouragement and support from your parents to focus on your school work and do your homework!
What one subject should be placed on the curriculum?
Mandarin. One day it will be the most important language in business and it is so difficult to learn (trust me, I’ve tried!) that it should be on the curriculum from age five to stand a chance.
Have you ever had to sack someone on the spot and why?
No – I have been lucky never to have been placed in that position, though I’ve had some bosses that I might have sacked if I’d been their boss!
What percentage of your success is inspiration?
I can’t put a percentage on it as I think inspiration is ‘cumulative’. We all have to be able to inspire others and be inspired – inspiration is addictive and a huge part of leadership. A lot of inspiration comes from outside of the work environment – it is then working out how it can be transferred and channelled into business.
What percentage of your success is perspiration?
It is definitely about working smarter. Not to say we don’t all work hard, but we can all definitely work smarter. All my team know that we continuously need to find better ways of doing things. We make it part of our culture.
Who is your inspiration in business and why?
People who proactively go the extra mile without thought. People who spend a lot of time working on relationships that one day will bear fruit. Individuals who are multi dimensional in terms of their work and personal ethics.
What time do you get up on a working day?
Usually between 6.30am and 7am.
How do you switch off and relax?
Nothing better than getting a pair of headphones on and losing yourself in some music with no interruptions…..
How do you measure business success?
By how well we are known and regarded by both our clients along with the professional and wider community.
What is your favourite piece of business jargon and why?
“It does what it says on the tin”. Love it. Probably the most wrongly used piece of jargon of all time!
What is the most pointless piece of red tape you’ve had to deal with?
Red tape is so prevalent at the moment it sometimes feels like there is a business prevention team out there! Equally there have been serious financial issues in the last few years, so while it can be frustrating, I can appreciate there is a need for monitoring and further regulation.
Where does your confidence come from?
My experiences, I guess. I hadn’t really thought about it, but confidence is a key quality in business. If you can’t be genuinely confident, how can you expect anyone to be confident in you?
How do you ensure that people don’t go to sleep in meetings?
Keep it short, simple and interesting. If that fails, shout, throw things and ridicule!